This year’s Virginia General Assembly passed HB2381, which attempts to provide a better definition of what constitutes a ‘dangerous dog’. The City of Virginia Beach is the first locality to adopt language from HB2381. The language was adopted this Tuesday at the city council meeting.
Below is a basic summary of HB2381:
Dangerous dogs. Removes the requirement that a law-enforcement officer or animal control officer apply for a summons requiring a dog owner to appear before a general district court when the officer has reason to believe that the dog is dangerous. In the case of a dog that has bitten a cat or dog, the bill requires investigation by an officer for certain exemptions from the definition of “dangerous dog” to apply and removes an exemption for good cause as determined by a court. In the case of a dog that has bitten a person, the bill creates an exemption when an investigating officer finds that the injury is minor. The bill allows a court to use good cause as a reason to determine that a dog is not dangerous. The bill also reduces from 45 days to 30 days the period within which (i) an owner of a dog found to be dangerous is required to obtain a dangerous dog registration certificate and (ii) a convicted owner of a dangerous dog is required to comply with certain provisions.